Places of Interest

Noelle & Tim have spent time preparing a range of itineraries for their guests to enjoy in the expectation it will help orientation and offer some ideas of what is available during your stay.

These hand picked guides to North Yorkshire are packed full of interesting information on places to go, things to see and activities to do while you stay at Noelle’s Cottages.

Beautiful GardensTea & CoffeeThe CoastVisit PickeringTen Best ChurchesLocal AbbeysArts & CraftsEating OutBirds & WildlifePhotographic SitesHouses & HeritageWatersportsFestivals & ShowsNatureHutton le HoleHelmsley

Beautiful Gardens to visit from Noelle’s Cottages

Yorkshire is particularly well endowed with gardens, from the traditional formal gardens of stately homes to the newly created wildflower sculptured garden of Dutch House. We struggle to get down to the 10 best and some are too far flung to be considered local.

Castle Howard Arboretum

Sat Nav – YO60 7DA

An award winning managed woodland adjacent to the magnificent stately home with its gardens and plant sales area. Trees, lakes and ponds with children’s area.

Duncombe Park

Sat Nav – YO62 5EB

Duncombe Park has traditional gardens with a famous yew walk – a living tunnel. The Helmsley Walled Garden was the vegetable garden to the house and has been extensively renovated. The flowers fruits and vegetables are delightfully laid out and even more enjoyable in the Vegetarian Vinehouse Café.

Scampston Hall

Sat Nav – YO17 8NG

Gardens and walled garden with restaurant and woodlands make for an interesting visit.

Dutch House

Sat Nav – YO61 4TT

Recently created as an example of more natural gardening, huge drifts of wildflowers with sculptured contours to complement the sculptures that punctuate the walk through the varying gardens. Plenty of homemade food in the café and regular practical craft experiences for all ages.

Burnby Hall

Sat Nav – YO42 2QF

Acres of various habitats and styles of gardening with large lakes with a huge collection of water lilies and fish to feed by hand.

Newby Hall

Sat Nav – HG4 5AE

Famous for its collection of cornus and its huge herbaceous borders. Plenty for all ages.

Harlow Carr

Sat Nav – HG3 1QB

On the outskirts of Harrogate this is the northern outpost of the RHS gardens. Benefits from the nearby elegant spa town and of course the original Betty’s Tearoom.

Thorp Perrow Arboretum

Sat Nav – DL8 2PR

A wonderful collection of trees, some ancient and a huge number are considered Champions – the biggest in Britain. Autumn colours are stunning.

Harewood House

Sat Nav – LS17 9LG

Too many superlatives and awards to list. The Queen’s cousin delivers opportunities for an amazing day out, albeit 50 miles away.


Sat Nav – Hall YO30 1DD

Relax and explore an 18th century garden full of surprise and special corners.

Sutton Park

Sat Nav -YO61 1DP

David Cameron’s house-in-law. Ferns, bamboo, bluebells and fabulous stately house.

Open Gardens

Some wonderful private gardens open for a few days when they are at their peak. Entrance fees go to charity. Close by Noelle’s Cottages is Sleightholmedale Lodge which is a gem.

There are some lovely places to relax and enjoy tea and coffee close by to Noelle’s Cottages, here are some of our favourites.

Feast, Pickering

Our new deli in the Market Town of Pickering only 20 minutes walk from Noelle’s Cottages.

Café Cocoa, Pickering

Great for food as well as fantastic coffee and the best hot chocolate around.

Café Stop, Pickering

Perfect to sit outside on a fine day and people watch.

Black Swan, Helmsley

All manner of awards, teas blended for their water. Not an economy stop.

Betty’s Café, York

You must experience one of the three especially if it’s your first visit to the area. The
original is in Harrogate, there is a large Betty’s in central York and in Stonegate Little Betty’s is much more venerable and creaky. Many local specialities and fantastic coffee and tea varieties. Owners of Yorkshire Tea. You just have to take some home.

Cedar Barn – on the road to Thornton Dale

A great Sunday lunch, coffee of tea break and loads of goodies to take home, all day breakfasts and tasty toasted sandwiches.

Beadlam Grange – between Norton Beadlam and Helmsley

Award winning farm shop and cafe.

Leonie’s, Malton

Several time winner of national and world coffee making awards. Small but perfectly delivered.

Noelle’s Cottages are ideally placed at the gateway to the Moors so we are not too far away from some really fantastic places to visit on The Coast

If you are handy with a map, consider missing the traffic by going to Newton, Stape and across the Moors to Egton Bridge and thence to the Coast north of Whitby. Great views across to the Early Warning  Station. No longer golf balls but a huge pyramid.


The ‘essential’ place to visit on the Coast. The Abbey and Churchoffer great views over the cliffs. Narrow lanes and snickets with interesting shops below the Abbey. Fish and chips all over the town. Beautiful harbour, colourful beach huts and great photo opportunities.


At the end of the sand that reaches out from Whitby. Long sandy beach with lovely rocks, to the north the gold coloured fossils are attractive but not collectable. Excellent gallery, teashops and relaxed atmosphere.

Runswick Bay

Protected from modernity by the nearby estate who also owns the lovely thatched house on the quay. Steep drive down, some parking, long curving sandy beach rich in fossils and colourful rocks. Great for cooking on the beach, flying kites, watching the sailing boats and exploring the cottages clinging to the cliffs. An up-market Robin Hood’s Bay.

Robin Hood’s Bay

Park at the top and walk down through the houses on the left side. Narrow winding streets enable smugglers to outwit the Excise men. Georgian houses, tall and narrow and which have a habit of slipping off the cliff edge. Shops, fish and chips, a pub and interesting shops and museums make it a great destination. The beach is not particularly sandy but the rock pools are rich in sealife. A steep walk back up Bay Bank but – there’s no hurry.

Saltwick Bay

Access from the cliff edge down a very steep rocky path. Park in the first campsite along the cliff edge as you drive south from Whitby Abbey.  A great place to hunt for fossils to the right of the descent. Wrecked marine bits are good for photos. Check the tide tables as there is real danger of being cut off by the incoming tide. A huge ichthyosaurus emerged from the cliffs after stormy weather. Keep your eyes and imagination open. Ammonites and belemnites are plentiful.


Captain Cook country. Narrow streets.  Good view back to the village for photographers. An enjoyable walk from here to Port Mulgrave.

Port Mulgrave

An very strange end of the world place with a steep walk down to a port with fishermans huts. A good walk to Staithes.


Is a very personal choice.The Castle and The Roman Hill top fort area is interesting and the town has the appearance of a Victorian seaside resort. Plenty of shops and traditional seaside essentials.


Great family beach with gently sloping sand.


Map ref 838 154  For the adventurous , a rope descent to the beach.

Boggle Hole

 YO22 4UQ  Quite apart from the lovely name it also has a quiet beach and rock pools.  A good walk to Robin Hood’s Bay.

Bempton Cliffs

Very important cliff breeding site for a wide variety of birds. RSPB site. Large colony of gannets. Noise smell and bountiful nature. Climbing down for eggs was a source of income for those with strong nerves and arms.

Just a short walk from Noelle’s Cottages.

Tim could make it to work in 18 minutes. 

Pickering is an attractive, historic market town with a surprising number of pubs, many food outlets and some excellent shops. The museum is well worth a visit, the Church has important medieval wall paintings and the North Yorkshire Moors Railway has hosted Harry Potter and Gwenyth Paltrow. On Mondays the market takes over the main shopping street. The town calendar features thePickering War Weekend when the whole town is packed with WWII uniforms, vehicles and camp followers. The Pickering 60’s Festival weekend and Jazz week add to the musical offerings of Ryedale Festival. Recently we have hosted the evening round the town bike race that opens the championship Mountain Bike World Cup at nearby Dalby Forest. The Showfield hosts theTraction Engine Rally, country fairs, weekly car boots and many other events.

Map of the town centre

Architecture & Heritage

Beck Isle Museum houses a collection of country artefacts, war memories and is a centre for local history. Local photographerSydney Smith recorded the people and society of the early 20th century. The building is interesting as William Marshall founded the first agricultural college in England here in 1816. The Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul has important wall paintings dating back to around 1460. Pickering Castle has a succession of associations with the monarchy and politics. It is owned by the Queen and run by English Heritage, it is said to be the best example of a motte and bailey keep.

Arts & Craft

The Kirk Theatre runs musicals and pantomime. Various venues are used during the Ryedale Festival. The Green Man gallery sells locally produced ceramics and other objects. Sophie Hamilton Pottery is 4 miles south of Pickering.


Pickering has some excellent food outlets, Birdgate ChocolatiersTaylors of Pickering fish and vegetables, The Organic Farm shop, Cedar Barn Farm Shop, Hann’s Butchers and Feast a new Deli. Cooper’s hardware will amuse the man who has nearly everything while a few doors away is the Pickering Antiques Centre. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy the advice and the quality of the goods from Trailblazers.


The North Yorkshire Moors Railway has a long run through beautiful countryside.
The line is one of the earliest in the country. It hosts the War weekend and several other events through the year. Pickering has a swimming pool, library and leisure centre. It is well placed for walks and bike rides. There are a many routes and levels of challenge. Both Trailblazers and the Tourist Information Centre can supply maps and suggestions.


There are plans to develop a green space not far from the centre of town. Until then a walk into nature will have to satisfy. From the Castle there is apleasant walk through the woods to Newbridge and back the other side of the back past a fascinating pottery and Beck Isle Museum. Rogers Nursery is an excellent place for information, plants and trees and ideas for using their delivery service to have the items at the best time of year.


We are spoilt for choice with the food shops above, take – aways and restaurants.


With Viking and Celtic stone carvings.


With important and enjoyable medieval wall paintings. The Quaker Meeting Houses in Pickering and in Kirbymoorside are also worth visiting.


Built with love on top of a Normal crypt. Very atmospheric.  St Cedd started it be before the Romans left.


Perched on the cliff overlooking the harbour, beautiful Georgian gravestones, Whitby Abbey views and amazing box pews. You can feel the boat builder influence. Check the central heating system – a central coal fire.  Don’t mention Dracula as they get weary of explaining….


Just past Kirkbymoorside, a gem of an ancient church with fascinating sundial over the porch.

Ellerburn Church

Saxon origins visible. Bats. On the walk from Thornton Dale to Dalby Forest passing the ecologically fascination Pexton pond.


An unusual Georgian Church

York Minster

A fabulous space built over many early periods of architecture. The modest entry fee is well worth it. You could visit for ‘free’ if you pick a service time. A gem to photograph.

There are a number of Abbey’s and significant church buildings within reach of Noelle’s Cottages.

Rievaulx Abbey

Just outside Helmsley. A stunning place especially in the mist or low season. The walk along the Terraces above is well worth the annoying extra charge.

Byland Abbey

Byland Abbey glows in the evening light.

Fountains Abbey

This is the largest of the three and has huge grounds. I love the walk up from Studley Royal especially on a misty day when you come across the Abbey like a magical dream.  A world Heritage Site.

Whitby Abbey

Sitting on the cliff top and has an important place in history. In AD 664 the Roman and Celtic churches debated the setting of the date for Easter.

Jervaulx Abbey

This abbey near Ripon has an organic feel with vegetation softening the stonework.

Kirkham Priory

In its tranquil setting on the banks of the River Derwent.

Mount Grace Priory

Near Northallerton, somewhat later and of different style but well preserved.

Selby Abbey

Now the parish church

York Minster

Beverley Minster

Ripon Cathedral

There are many studios and artists in Ryedale. Open Studios is worth a visit where you can visit artists in their studios which may not usually be open.

Shops and galleries include:

Gillies Jones glassblowers

In Rosedale village. You may catch them blowing and hand crafting their award winning bowls and other pieces. Collectable and welcome gifts for a special occasion

Sophie Hamilton

Off the Pickering to Malton road. A jogger jollier. Casting and decorating pots. A delightful woman with enjoyable pots and mugs.

The Green Man Gallery

Has a good range of local artists.

The Turnstone Gallery

At Sandsend gives another good reason to stay a while in the village.

Below are a selection of our favourite places to eat out in reach of Noelle’s Cottages.

Cross Keys in Malton

Beautiful Thai food and excellent staff. Book at weekends.

Fox and Hounds at Goldsborough

Brilliant food and drinks as you would expect from Ivy experienced staff returning to their Yorkshire roots. Book.

Black Swan at Oldstead  near Byland Abbey

Beautiful food served in a relaxed atmosphere. The local farming family took it in hand and have transformed into an award winning destination. Spot the farmer’s sons.

The Anvil at Sawdon

Friendly gastro pub with excellent beers and very good food

Fox and Rabbit at Lockton

Our guests frequently recommend it to us.

Fox and Hounds at Sinnington

(we seem unimaginative with names round here!)  Excellent better than pub food.

Spice 4 U in Pickering

Specialists in Bangladesh and Indian food.  Take aways take 20 minutes.

Fortune Inn in Pickering

A great Cantonese and some heart warming staff. Eat in or take away

El Gauchos in York

For a real steak experience uncluttered by salad

Blue Bicycle in York

Beautiful food in atmospheric brothel setting. Book

The Hare at Scawton, Sutton Bank top

Quirky ancient pub with excellent food.

Star Inn at Harome.

Starred and awards galore. Eat in the bar or with table cloths. Book

Magpie in Whitby

For fantastic fish and chip experiences, other dishes produced too. Queue for a table or grab the quicker take aways. Watch out for marauding seagulls….

Florio’s in Malton

Excellent pizza place for special events with children, or just enjoy the lively atmosphere.

Cedar Barn just outside Pickering

For teas, lunches and provisions

Beadlam Grange just this side of Helmsley

For teas, lunches and provisions.

Noelle’s Cottage’s gardens for a wide variety of nesting and visiting birds and bats as well as the mammal spotting possibilities near the road at the top end of the property.

Bempton Cliffs north of Bridlington. RSPB site. Brilliant cliffs offering nesting for huge numbers of sea birds. An important colony of gannets that soar then plunge into the water. Puffins breed here and there are many variations on the theme of ‘seagull’. Take great care if with children.

North Landing near Flamborough. Puffins, white cliffs and green water make this a memorable place.

Thornwick Caves near North Landing. For nesting birds, smugglers caves white cliffs and blue water. Slippery, barnacle covered rocks, knees beware.

Forge Valley SE 9887. Off the main road to Scarborough in Ayton. This has been a woodland bird feeding station for decades so attracts many species of birds habituated to humans. Don’t forget to take some form of feed.

High Staindale Lake in the middle of Dalby Forest. Thornton Dale, turn left, after 1+ miles there is a right turn into the forest, through the toll booth and then another delightful drive to the Lake.For photos.

Crossbill and nightjar as well as many other more expected species.

High Paper Mill – up from Ellerburn there is a colony of herons you can look down onto – go past the tip at Thornton Dale along Lime Kiln Lane.

Dalby Forest. Known for its nightjar evening walks to hear them churring.[/tab]

Biking is big in GB this year. We are happy to encourage all abilities and ages to get on their bikes in Ryedale and enjoy the exercise, countryside and then wind down afterwards in Noelle’s Cottages. A list of a dozen things to help you on your way…

Advice from a man who knows
Mike Hawtin breathes biking and has a wealth of knowledge of the bike routes in Ryedale. You can ring him or drop him an email for all sorts of advice and suggestions. 01751 47511 or 07802 883018 mike@gonemountainbiking. Tell him about your link with Noelle’s Cottages. He will help you with guided rides or training if you book in advance.

Get you back on the road spares
Give Mike a call, he has plenty of standard spares to keep you going and can give bike advice.

Bike shops
Pickering has a helpful middle of the road bike repair and parts shop in the Market Place – Pickering Cycle Centre 01751 472 581. There is a smart mountain bike shop Big Bear Bikes near the traffic lights 01751 474 220 and in Dalby Village a bike hire and shop to be run by Pace cycles and CTC (the Cycling Touring Club) details awaited.

Guide books and maps
The three key OS maps are West and East North York Moors and the Howardian Hills. Paul Pickering has written a good selection routes of various levels of challenge. These should be available in the cottages. If you want to prepare yourself before you arrive the outdoor shop Trailblazers in Pickering is very helpful and also has an online site.

Dalby Forest
This must be on your list of possible destinations. The green and blue routes are good family cycling. Maps are available from Dalby Village or will be found in the cottages. Have a look at the forestry link which gives a good overview. If you ride in its free but cars are charged at £7 each. You can find a wide range of routes and not all have to follow the World Cup route.

North York Moors
Threaded with bike routes of varying difficulty but my man who knows – Mike – tells me it is easy to underestimate the challenge than many routes can provide. He will be happy to advise. Rosedale is a great place to start from and many enthusiasts set off up Chimney Bank, one of the steepest roads in the UK 1:3 in places. Coming down is more exciting. You can park at the top where the Chimney used to be and ride the largely horizontal railway track used by the ironstone workings in the 19th century. The Lion Inn at Blakey is a good place to head for but it will be hard to extract yourself from the open fires, excellent fuel food and good beer. There are other good rides in Rosedale, you can climb more gently up to the railway if you ride anti- clockwise setting off north from the village towards Dale Head and then have a sharp climb to the railway after sampling Maggies special tea and traditional Yorkshire goodies at Farmhouse Fodder…. I’d push. Not a technical challenge but takes you into lovely countryside.

Blansby Park to Newton
Takes you into lovely countryside, you follow the North York Moors Railway out of Pickering, turn right after the level crossing and follow the valley briefly – the old Royal Deer Park. You then pull up the valley side to the left and take a sometimes gloopy green lane to Newton. From there you can check the local pub and peer down into Levisham Halt where the steam train runs. Noelle and I like to walk down to the station and back up to Levisham village as a leg stretcher but I doubt it makes for good riding.

Hole of Horcum to Levisham
I have described this as a walk on the blog. You can park a car in the National Park carpark on the road to Whitby just before it plunges over the rim of the Hole and drops down to the historic Saltersgate pub and Fylingdales listening station – not marked on your map. You can cycle across the moors and pass Dundale pond with reeds and dragon flies and head into the village for lunch at the Horseshoe Inn pub.

Newbridge Park
Test your dirt jumping skills in the newly opened Newbridge Park. Best accessed along the footpath that runs below the castle in Pickering. Please push and respect those on foot. You can get a day pass from Trailblazers in the Market Place in Pickering. We have recently been able to thread a cycle trail through the woods to give various circuits and in time we will provide cycle access to Dalby. For the moment enjoy the circuits or and variously challenging alternative loops and drops.

Outdoor stuff, maps and advice
Call into Trailblazers in the Market Place in Pickering and see if there are any toys you are short of. They tend to aim for affordable quality rather than items that will let you down.

Short of contours?
If its hairy stuff you want then contact Mike and see if he can fit you up with the sort of ride you are looking for. He does guided rides and training and can help you with technical riding and bike issues. He does B and B and if you want you can immerse yourself in cogs, drops and even indulge in f stops and depth of field.

Your Suggestions
Would you like to suggest what routes we should include for others to
enjoy? Please email us at

All the places listed are very personal but you can often get excellent photos at any of the following

Especially at dawn and sunset which at times you can catch both out at sea from the same viewpoint. The harbour walls below and beyond the Abbey are good for early light and then there is a lovely view back to Whitby as the sun gets higher. Old painted boats in the harbour as well as the reflections of the reconstructed tall ship. Sunset behind the Abbey is good but may require a nimble and adventurous type to get the reflections on the pond although there is a path from the boundary wall, well worn with photographers hooves as they make the after hours journey! The donkey lady, slot machines and fish dock offer other possibilities. Red roofs and the harbour from the interesting church and church yard are all possibilities. Spooky Georgian gravestones may have inspired Bram Stoker to get into the Dracula mood when he wrote the book during a visit to Whitby.

Saltwick Bay
Just a few miles south of Whitby along the coast road. Park in the campsite and go down the rather steep steps to the beach. Check tide tables as brisk return of water is embarrassing. Go 1/4 mile to the right and pause by the wreck covered in barnacles. Interesting rock formations and reflections in pools. View of wreck and the black nab or pillar of rock.

Robin Hood’s Bay
Very pretty. narrow Georgian smuggler streets. Go early morning especially at low tide and get a good view back towards the village. Quirky corners, rock pools, atmospheric.

Further north is Port Mulgrave
Highly recommended but a serious scramble down and a long pull up but worth the effort. Beach huts decorated with bits washed in on the tide. Very quirky. To the right of the path are loads of fascinating rocks, pools and colourful
cliffs. I could spend a day there happily. No shops or anything there so carry anything down you need.

Staithes further along
Captain Cook. Small village. Amazing view back towards the village from the Nab overlooking. Access via Cowbar Lane and walk up the spit of land. Wide angle photos appear as if from a helicopter

Almost at the edge of the known world. Lovely pier. Waterfalls at Mallyan Spout near Gothland or Falling Foss and May Beck near Sneaton Forest offer delightful pictures especially for those with a tripod or some other means of
taking a long exposure. As you drive across the Moors towards Danby there are wonderful panoramic views to the right across the Moors. Check heather flowering time.

Castle Howard
Especially across the Lake for a quintissential English posh place. Brideshead etc.

Rievaulx Abbey
Especially from the Terraces above or when there are not so many people about in the Abbey itself.

Fountains Abbey
As you approach from Studley Royal end up the river. Wonderful on a misty morning as it looms into view

North York Moors Railway
Especially when it gets nippier and the steam is more impressive.

Lizzie Shepherd has an inspiring website covering the area as have the excellent husband and wife photographers Janet and Richard Burdon

Castle Howard

Long undulating avenue with lime trees make you reflect on the clearances to make space for this great house. Classic view over the lake to the Vanbrugh designed house. Gardens and garden centre, playground and wonderful art works in the house. Music in the gardens in the long hot summer evenings…

Duncombe Park

lose to the centre of Helmsley. Baroque style house with careful restoration including below stairs. Waymarked walks through the gardens. Champion trees and yew walk. Had its own ruined Abbey – well haven’t you? Rievaulx Abbey and the Terrace were all part of the entertainments for guests. Less commercial than Castle Howard. Has interesting events including a Traction Engine rally.

Nunnington Hall

House with furnishings and doll house gallery. Occasional important photographic exhibitions. Gardens

Hovingham Hall

Opens in the summer. Beautiful setting for a game of cricket or anoutdoor play. Music during Ryedale Festival.

Howsham Hall 
Beautifully restored from its former life as a school.

Rievaulx Abbey
A beautiful example of a Cistercian Monastery at the back of Helmsley. Wonderfully atmospheric.

Byland Abbey 
Glows in the late evening sun. A Cistercian Abbey conveniently close to the superb Black Swan at Oldfield and the Byland Abbey Inn Whitby Abbey sits on the high ground above the town. Great silhouette for sunsets. Important abbey founded in 657AD. In 664 the Synod of Whitby, at which King Oswiu ruled that the Northumbrian church would adopt the Roman calculation of Easter and monastic tonsure took place at the abbey. Mmm you probably knew that anyway! 

Pickering Castle
Said to be the finest example of a motte and bailey castle. Great views from the highest point across the railway and Pickering. Many important royal connections and history.

Helmsley Castle 
From medieval fortress to Tudor mansion house this castle adjoins Duncombe Park.

Pickering swimming pool, traditional and local but with a water slide. Sessions for different groups.

Helmsley open air pool in the long hot summer. Not sure how they like you using goose grease to stay warm.

Waterworld in Monks Cross on the outskirts of York. Swimming, sliding and exercise classes and gym.

Sailing and windsurfing at Scaling Dam between Whitby and Guisborough

Wykeham watersports on the way to Sacrborough. Sailing and windsurfing and youth adventure days. These taster days provide an opportunity to take part in a range of water and land based adventures under expert instruction. Watersports include sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, canoeing, bell-boating, raft-building. On dry land we do climbing, low-ropes and team challenges

Surfing at Scarborough – there is even a surfing school at Cayton Bay. Watch out Waikiki you could be losing out.
The agricultural shows are a delight from the huge Great Yorkshire Show to the tiny Boon Hill Show they bring out the best in a rural community and a surprising enthusiasm for ferret racing.

Some of the great local shows include

Ryedale Show 
Outside Kirkbymoorside

Rosedale Show
Picturesque setting with rare breeds, animals and crafts as well as horsey stuff. 

Farndale Show
Small but perfectly formed. 

Thornton le Dale Show
A great local turnout and social event. 

Boon Hill Show
Above Newton on Rawcliffe. All the expected with ferret racing and trail hound racing. 

Egton Bridge for the famous Gooseberry Show
Started in 1800 so there must be something in it. In 2009 the world record was established here….

For a slightly different feel you might enjoy

The Ryedale Music Festival
With music in various grand houses and churches in the area. 

York Early Music Festival
York Uni has become a serious centre for early music and this is a key part of the year. 

Illuminating York
A quirky delightful and inspirational event where key buildings are lit in dramatic ways. Happens around bonfire night – late October to early November. Guy Fawkes was educated in York so they tend not to burn a Guy here especially at St Peter’s School. 

The York Mystery Plays
Historically important and a very complete medieval rendition of the bible story. Many great names appear as well as a huge cast of local amateurs. Various venues but the Abbey ruins in the  Museum Gardens has a great atmosphere. 

York Viking festival
Hairy men bashing one another and carrying off maidens washed down with copious beer. Sounds good.

Open Studios
Takes place in different areas at different times in the summer. Mid June. Artists open their homes or studios and show off their work. A great way to navigate round the area. 

Pickering based events
Pickering has many special events including the huge Pickering Traction Engine Rally, equally OTT is the Wartime Weekend, a feast for photographers. There is also a 60’s festival and many events just south of the town – truck and vehicle rallies, model engine show.

Goth Weekend
Whitby is busy with the Goth weekend as well as a 60’s festival and a regatta. 

The Great Yorkshire Show
Harrogate show ground is the venue for the Great Yorkshire Show as well as the Harrogate Flower Festival. 

Bempton Cliffs are great for gannets diving into the sea but in April to August the cliffs team with seabirds nesting and bringing up theiryoung. RSPB visitor centre where you can hire binoculars. Unprotected cliffs so not good for small people. Puffins (April to July) kittiwakes razorbills and many more.

Butterflies – marbled whites on Knapweed on the road between Birdsall and Thixendale in August

Starling gatherings over Scarborough amusements November to February at dusk.

Crows gathering over West Heslerton Carr at dusk November to February.

Puffins at North Landing in May, nesting in the clifftops.

Further suggestions welcomed. 

A small village to enjoy a such prominence but its a delightful destination and will reward a slow approach to your adventures.

The centre of the village is a sheep nibbled area with a stream running through.   The highlights include the chocolate factory which is next door to the Ryedale Folk Museum. This is a walk through museum with a series of houses and themes. At the top of the site is the new Harrison Collection, the second collection established in Pickering or near by and lost to the town. Blast. The other collection was Dr Kirk’s which formed the Castle Museum in York. The Harrison brothers have collected since childhood and have amassed a huge collection of important household items and other artefacts. Well worth a visit. Much of the collection was kept in The Barn before it became Noelle’s Cottages when the brothers moved away from their isolated farm.

Walks from Hutton le Hole include a pleasant wander over fields and moorland to Lastingham another gem opt a village. The Blacksmiths Arms does good food and beer as well as having an interesting interior and gathering of locals. 

Opposite is a lovely church with ancient crypt. A must-see destination for those who enjoy such things. St Cedd 654AD. Seriously early.  

Back in Hutton le Hole beware of the Courts Leet which still operates here. An ancient organisation who can probably do the ‘off with his head’ thing if you drop litter of frighten the sheep. 

The Court Leet sits on the first Thursday in October at the Manor House Spaunton, usually starting at 10.00am. Members of the public/press are welcome to attend although the room is not large and therefore space is limited.

The list of fines is put before the Court each year and is called the presentment. The Jury appoints the Foreman. At present the moor keeper holds the position of Pinder. Traditionally the job of the pinder was to impound in pinfolds any stray stock and to generally monitor the flocks of sheep grazed on the common.

You see there is not much to do round here so we just like to hang onto some of the old stuff.
Helmsley is a delightful market town with a large market square. It has country style shops, great food outlets with a lovely Stately Home – Duncombe Park and its attached Walled Garden and Castle.

Close by and possibly a good walk way is Rievaulx Abbey – a 12th century Cistercian Abbey finally ruined by Henry VIIIth. You can look down on the Abbey from the Rievaulx Terraces where you take a 1/2 mile level walk between a Roman and Greek temple with 10 places to look down onto the Abbey.

The 1812 Arts centre offers an art gallery and also plays music and film.

The shops are are excellent as may be expected of a town that attracts the shooting set including Madonna, Prince Charles and Daniel Craig. The Cinnamon Twist for cakes, Hunters an excellent deli and grocers that also make great sandwiches to order and ice creams in the summer. Thomas’ on the other corner of the square for meat and unusual vegetables. Carters for country wear and Bella di Notte in an adjacent industrial estate for quality lingerie at sensible prices.

On the way to Helmsley there is an award winning farm shop just after Nawton/Beadlam, the Beadlam Grange is on the south side of the road a couple of miles from Helmsley. Good produce, well presented meat and mini beef wellingtons as well as a coffee and lunchtime cafe.

Activities – a gentle walk along the Terraces or a longer walk from town to Rievaulx Abbey and back. Bakers riding school offers rides out including through Duncombe Park. For the bold there is an open air swimming pool for our long hot summers.

Gardens – Duncombe Park and also the Walled gardens close by.

Eating – The Feathers Pub or more refined is The Feversham Arms with its well awarded Spa. Lovely vegetarian food in one of the glass houses in the Walled Garden. Gepetto’s is a lively Italian restaurant. Close to Helmsley is the starred Black Swan at Oldstead and the Star at Harome.

Getting there – Turn right out of Middleton along the A170 and park on the road leading to the square or in the square itself except on Fridays. Car park also near the castle. Moors bus and Coastliner pass through.